I can’t believe I missed one important thing from last week! The scene between Grey Worm and Missandei was very sweet and I really hope it isn’t their final farewell.
Speaking of farewells, let’s get right into the action of this episode:
1: Okay, I loved Missandei’s formal announcement of all of Daenerys’ titles and then Ser Davos introducing Jon as “This is Jon Snow…Um, the King in the North.” That had me quite literally laughing out loud because that is just so Ser Davos.
2: With that said, I think it’s interesting that Jon did not bend the knee to Daenerys. Possibly because his protestations that he didn’t want to be king are slightly untrue but I think the likelier possibility is that he’s both a bit proud and sizing her up. He seemed quite surprised when she admitted her father was a terrible man and I think he’s warming up to her, especially after she granted him the right to mine dragonglass and volunteered her own men and resources for the endeavour. She may not believe that the Night King and the army of the dead are real at this point, but I liked how Tyrion convinced her helping Jon in the mining would not hurt her one bit and could only help her in the long run.
3: I think it’s fascinating that Melisandre is going to Volantis. Why Volantis? Is she going to get more red priests and priestesses to preach that Daenerys is Azor Ahai, the prince that will save them from the darkness? Or is it something else (which is the likelier option)? I also think it’s interesting that she knows that when she comes back to Westeros it will mean her death is near. And even more interesting, that Varys will also die in Westeros according to her prediction. How will Varys die? He’s one of the few born survivors in the series (along with Bronn and Littlefinger) so I can’t see him dying in a battle or anything like that. And so far he has no reason to betray Daenerys so Daenerys has no reason to make good on her threat from the first episode. As usual, my mum and I talked over the episode and she both doesn’t see a use for Varys at this point but also doesn’t see how his death would be useful. I agree but perhaps we’ll get some more information in the coming episode(s).
4: So Euron is the hero of King’s Landing. I stand by my assessment of his character that I made in my recap of the first episode: he’s both slightly insane but slightly smart alec-y and it’s hard to tell which is which. His asking Jaime for advice with Cersei was both to needle Jaime (of course) but also slightly sincere? I really can’t tell but I do think it’s both. Either way, it’s really a credit to his actor.
5: I never particularly liked Ellaria or any of the Sand Snakes but even I was a little disturbed by the way Cersei chose to have her revenge. It’s poetic and the absolute cruellest thing she could have done to Ellaria. I mean, I understand why she did it (she’s tormenting the woman who killed her daughter by killing said woman’s daughter) but there’s a cruelty to it that seems slightly disturbing. I don’t think she’ll go the path of the Mad King but I do think her conscience is going to make things very difficult for her in this (and the next) season. Especially when Lady Olenna’s prediction comes true and Cersei becomes Jaime’s downfall.
6: Sansa is ruling nicely at Winterfell. I loved the scene when Bran and Meera came to Winterfell and Sansa hugged him. Bran was than of course being weird in the godswood, insensitively bringing up what was probably the worst night of Sansa’s life so far in order to prove that he’s the Three Eyed Raven. I mean, really Bran? Did you have to go there? There were so many other scenes from her life that he could have used and he had to pick the one that would bring up the trauma she’s now buried deeply. Ugh.
7: And Ser Jorah’s alive! And going back to Daenerys!!! I am inordinately excited about this.
8: Sam’s a hero too for performing surgery straight out of a book with no practical experience. But even heroes have to copy a bunch of dusty scrolls and empty bedpans. Joking aside, I think the fact he’s copying old scrolls may be significant. After all, old scrolls could contain information about the White Walkers or the Long Night.
9: Theon’s miserable carcass was saved by some Ironborn. I honestly thought they were going to toss him back overboard when he said he tried and the other man said that if he had really tried to save Yara, he wouldn’t still be alive. But I guess Theon still has some use for the plot or he wouldn’t still be alive. Nothing happens without a reason in Game of Thrones.
10: Speaking of which, I loved the callback to the first and second seasons. The callback to the second season was of course when Tyrion used his knowledge of the sewers of Casterly Rock to help the Unsullied take the castle with minimal casualties. I love that Tyrion of course built a secret passage so he could continue his whoring under his father’s very nose. That is so very Tyrion. The callback to the first season was when Bronn said of the Eyrie: “Give me ten good men with climbing spikes and I’ll impregnate the bitch.” Well, the Unsullied were a bit more than ten good men and they used sewers instead of climbing spikes but you get the idea.
11: Speaking of Bronn, I hope that after Jaime dies (which I’m still predicting will happen this season) that Bronn goes back to Tyrion. They’re a perfect team. And I’d love to see what Daenerys makes of Bronn at her court. Of course he would also offer very practical strategies for winning the war. That’s something Daenerys can’t afford to turn down right now.
12: As much as I hate to admit it, Cersei’s strategy was brilliant. She knew Tyrion was going to try to take Casterly Rock both because of revenge and its strategic value so she made it into a trap. Meanwhile, Jaime of course took the bulk of the troops to Highgarden to take out another woman Cersei hopes to have vengeance on: Lady Olenna Tyrell.
13: Lady Olenna’s final scene with Jaime was so brilliant and so quintessentially her. When Jaime found her I thought for sure she had already taken poison and was just waiting for it to kick in, stalling by taunting Jaime. But I do love that after Jaime went through all of the trouble of finding a poison that wouldn’t hurt (because he’s very much not his sister), she told him she’s the one who killed Joffrey at his wedding a few years back. You could see Jaime really regretting taking the kind route with her. But she said something else I think will become significant in this season: that Cersei will be the death of him. And at this point, Jaime both seems to know that and doesn’t seem to care. Thus, my continuing prediction that Jaime is not long for this world and will likely die sometime in this season.
14: Finally, given the reappearance of the Iron Bank of Braavos and its mention in the promo for episode 4, I think they’re going to play a bigger role in the coming season. Sure, Cersei’s riding high right now: the bulk of Daenerys’ fleet is gone, her Unsullied are trapped at Casterly Rock and most of her Westerosi allies are dead or captured. But it would be far too easy if in the fortnight she promised that she’s going to be able to pay off her debt to the bank in full. The promo for the next episode seems to hint that things aren’t going to go entirely smoothly for Jaime while he’s bringing the gold back to King’s Landing and I think that makes perfect sense. Nothing is ever that easy in Game of Thrones! But I guess we’ll have to wait until next week.
So thank you all for wading through my absolute wall of text this week. Things are heating up and so these recap posts will only become longer as the season goes on. I can’t wait for next week!
Well, they’re certainly not wasting time on exposition before the action gets going this season. Yay! No more travel scenes! So here are my thoughts about the episode:
1: Daenerys’ council at Dragonstone was an important scene. On one side, we have the women advocating for an aggressive strategy. On the other side, we have Tyrion with his much more sensible advice. I think Daenerys was smart to take the middle route offered later on in the episode: Take Casterly Rock with the foreign army but beseige King’s Landing with a Westerosi army. It avoids the bad PR that Cersei could use to whip up support for her cause.
2: Randyll Tarly is going to be an interesting dark horse for at least another episode. I think he may be leaning toward Daenerys at this point but if he hears of the destruction of the Greyjoy and Dornish fleet, he may play things safe and go for Cersei. However, it’s really hard to tell. He’s the only one who ever beat Robert Baratheon in battle, which shows he has a real head for strategy and tactics (not so much for parenting!). Even with the Greyjoy fleet destroyed by Euron Greyjoy, I think Tarly may end up with Daenerys as she still has three dragons, an army of Dothraki and her Unsullied.
3: Now I’m really justified in my most repeated saying in Game of Thrones: Poor Ser Jorah! I was so glad that Sam decided to help him despite Archmaester Marwyn’s objections. I really, really hope that all of that pain was worth it and he’s cured like Shireen. (And that Sam also doesn’t get greyscale in the process.) For the sake of adding some hope to the penultimate season, please let this work.
4: I told you so! I knew Arya wasn’t going to end up going to King’s Landing and I’m so glad she’s heading back north. She needs to be with Jon, Sansa and Bran (who will be arriving shortly I assume). The few remaining Starks and the secret Targaryen-Stark need to be with family, now more than ever.
5: I’m not sure how I feel about Melisandre’s reappearance. I knew that after Jon banished her she would of course go to Daenerys but I really do wonder what role she’s going to play in the season. Will she act as an advisor to Daenerys? Or is she going to do something else? My money would be on something else because her character has never really been that simple.
6: Also: yay Nymeria! Now that we’ve found Nymeria again, all we need is for Arya to run into Gendry, who is presumably somewhere in Westeros. Unless he rowed all the way to Essos, seeing as he has apparently been rowing for years. /s
7: Shit is going to go down at Winterfell with Jon gone, Sansa in charge and Littlefinger still skulking about. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with Littlefinger’s storyline, but going off past experience he’s going to counsel Jon to side with Daenerys. Littlefinger is a survivor most of all. If Jon doesn’t side with Daenerys, he’ll try to pack up the army of the Vale along with Sansa and side with the Mother of Dragons himself.
8: Speaking of dragons, I knew Qyburn was up to something as soon as Cersei knew that Daenerys was sailing for Westeros. A weapon that can wound dragons was pretty obviously going to come up sooner or later. I just hope that for Daenerys’ sake, it doesn’t work quite as efficiently as Qyburn hopes. Although I do suspect she may lose at least one dragon this season. Having three dragons and a massive intact army would be way too easy for Daenerys. Characters in Game of Thrones never just get things handed to them, as we’ve seen over the previous six seasons.
9: Hey, Hot Pie is still around. Now there’s a survivor!
10: Okay, so we know Ellaria, one of the daughters and Yara have been all captured by Euron. Lovely. The other two Dornish women are dead and frankly I can’t bring myself to care. I wasn’t all that invested in their characters in the books anyway but I really didn’t like them in the show (too much bland acting and B-movie fight scenes). So on that front, my reaction is kind of ‘meh’.
11: So now we know that Ellaria and Yara are Euron’s wedding present to Cersei. I think we can all agree that these two women are in for horrific deaths at best.
12: And…brave Sir Theon ran away. When the fighting was pretty much over and he saw Yara captured, I think it brought out the Reek in him again and he fled. I really can’t blame him from a psychological standpoint but it still feels like a betrayal of his sister yet again. But, I suppose he still has a role in the show or he wouldn’t have gotten away alive. Maybe to tell Daenerys her plan to beseige King’s Landing with a Westerosi army has failed? And then what? I’m really not sure where his character is realistically heading. Maybe for death, like Jaime is.
Well, that’s all for this week. I can’t wait for next week’s meeting between Daenerys and Jon, Euron’s presentation to Cersei and some Winterfell intrigue.
Yay, Game of Thrones is back! Finally! I’ve been ridiculously excited for the new season so let’s get to it. Here are my thoughts about this episode, in no particular order:
1: Okay, so much for the Freys. I was suspicious when I saw the scene start with a feast but as ‘Walder’ kept talking I figured out who it was. That scene was just the perfect revenge for Arya. Go Arya!
2: Samwell, you’re awesome. Finally, the boy who desperately didn’t want to break the rules or do anything to cause a stir has found some steel in him. It started when Sam rescued Gilly and killed a white walker (and stole his father’s sword last season) but now I think we’re nearing the end of his sort of coming-of-age character arc. He used to be a boy, but experience and love have made him into a man. A man who has to empty bedpans and eat soup that looks like it came out of a bedpan, sure. But a man nevertheless.
3: NO!!! Poor Ser Jorah. sigh I know he’s going to die so I really, really hope he waits until Daenerys gets there. The writers are keeping him alive and putting him in Oldtown for a reason. But at the same time, I’m still holding out hope beyond hope that Sam will somehow find him a cure and he goes back to Daenerys. What can I say? Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic after all.
4: The Sansa and Jon tension will only heat up this season. With Littlefinger plotting as usual and Jon being an honourable Stark (despite actually being a Targaryen) I think she may become frustrated with both of them and forge her own path. Whether that’s alongside Jon or Littlefinger remains to be seen. Not only did she learn a lot from Cersei, she also learned what not to do when playing the game of thrones by watching what happened to her father and older brother.
5: So I hope Bran and Meera finally get to Winterfell. I want Jon to finally know his actual origin story. Preferably before he meets with Daenerys, his aunt.
6: Hmm…you guys, I think Jaime is going to die this season. His children are dead and his lover/twin is distant and drowning herself in wine. I honestly just don’t see much of a future for his character. Perhaps he’ll die fighting in the Reach, trying to claim Highgarden? I’m not sure, but I really do think he’s going to die this season. He’s lost all motivation to live.
7: On a side note, can I just commend Euron Greyjoy’s actor for finding the perfect blend of smart alec and crazy? He’s got the crazy eyes like Theon when he was Reek but you still get the feeling he’s more clever than he’s letting on. I wonder what present he’s going to give Cersei (besides his two working hands)?
8: And Arya’s travelling along the road and happens across a band of Lannister men with an apparently famous singer doing a cameo. Huh. She says she’s going to kill the Queen but I really think she won’t. Not because Arya doesn’t want to but because I just can’t see Cersei dying that easily. That would be a real cop-out.
9: After six seasons, Daenerys is finally in Westeros! And Dragonstone, where she was born. And it’s completely empty despite the fact that I’m pretty sure Stannis would have left some force behind to guard his home castle. Oh well, as far as plot holes go this one isn’t bad.
10: Tyrion needs to shave. Badly.
11: So now that, thanks to Sam, Jon knows there’s dragonglass (obsidian) on Dragonstone, I’m pretty sure he’s going to meet with Daenerys somehow to try to forge an alliance. He needs to if he’s going to fight the White Walkers.
12: I thought the part with the Hound was going to be boring, but man was I wrong. I think that whole part where he stumbles on the hut he robbed, sees a vision in the fire and then buries the bodies is a real turning point for him. Maybe the Lord of Light isn’t so bad after all. Maybe the Hound is alive for a purpose, just like Beric Dondarrion.
13: Where’s Gendry? Is he still rowing that damn boat? Or is Arya going to stumble upon him in or on her way to King’s Landing? Who knows? I guess we’ll eventually find out.
And now I can’t wait for next Sunday! Like Daenerys, I’m definitely ready to begin. This season is going to be great!!!
I wasn’t sure how the writers would top episode 8, ‘Hardhome’ but I think they did with this one so let’s get to it:
1. I knew Shireen was going to die from the minute Stannis started actually showing more affection toward her. After Ramsay’s night raid on their camp, I think Stannis is pushed to desperation with not enough food to go forward or back. In his mind he only has one choice.
2. I wonder how poor Ser Davos is going to react to his de facto little girl being burned alive by her own father?
3. Plus, I think the fact that Selyse wanted to stop the burning once it happened really shows that she’s a complicated character. She thinks she hates Shireen but I think she fears her because of the greyscale and sees her as a failure. I mean, out of all the children she had, only Shireen, the ‘deformed’ one survived to term?
4. For a second there I thought Ser Alliser wasn’t going to let Jon Snow and the wildlings through the gate. But since he did I think he’s angling to take over Jon’s job, forcibly if necessary. Showing the Night’s Watch their Lord Commander’s ‘greatest sin’ is just one way to really turn sentiment against him.
5. I knew Arya was going to see Ser Meryn in Braavos from the time Cersei sent him to escort Lord Tyrell. And after that disturbing brothel scene I think Ser Meryn’s days are numbered just the same as Arya’s time at the House of Black and White is numbered.
6. I’m glad Bronn and Jaime are making it out of Dorne with Myrcella and Trystane. But what is Ellaria playing at? I doubt she’s given up her dream of getting revenge for Oberyn’s death, no matter what she swears to Doran.
7. Wow, the look on Daenerys’ face when Ser Jorah appeared in the pit again was just perfect. As was her look when she thought he tried to kill Hizdahr but really just killed a Harpy.
8. On that note, I was kind of surprised they killed of Hizdahr even before their marriage. What was the purpose of that particular change from the books?
9. Also, the choreography in the fighting pit was just beautiful. Someone must have been drunk or high during that really awful Sand Snake fight scene because this was classic Game of Thrones.
10. Yay, Dany finally got to ride Drogon. But I wonder where Drogon will take her? Will she end up where she does in the books or will the show’s writers change that slightly?
So what did you guys think of this super-intense episode? I’m very, very excited for the finale this year!
As always, spoilers!
1. Poor Jon. I personally think he’s making the right choice in enlisting the help of the Free Folk but it sure doesn’t seem very popular with the rest of the Night’s Watch.
2. Sansa, just get out of there! There are warning bells going off left, right and centre: Theon turned into Reek, Ramsay’s clear enjoyment of mind games, etc.
3. I hope Brienne and Podrick do manage to rescue Sansa, but realistically they’re not going to. Still, it will be interesting to see them try.
4. Oh Daenerys…first you almost kill a man then you say he was right and tell him you’re going to get married. Are you always this romantic?
5. And wow, that Missandei-Grey Worm scene was amazing. Those two actors have such great chemistry together that they make every scene together so emotional.
6. No, Ser Jorah! Why, oh why, did you have to take Jon Connington’s storyline? Gah!
What did you guys think of tonight’s episode?
(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.
Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.
From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.
After loving the first four books, I’ll admit that I really wanted to love A Dance with Dragons. I really, really tried. But it was such slow-going. It took me over a month to finish this book which should be a warning sign right there.
The problem, I think, at this point in the series is a little something called character bloat. There are too many characters. There are so many different houses and players entering into the war for Westeros that it’s simply become ridiculous. I can hardly keep track of them all and I’m not bragging when I say I have a good memory when it comes to books. Some points of view could have been cut from the book entirely. Did Quentyn Martell really have to have his say? Arya’s story barely went anywhere.
If it was just a slow plot I could handle it but it feels like the characters are going in totally different directions. Daenerys is an indecisive, idealistic moron compared to the strong, sure young woman she was in previous books. Jon Snow keeps swinging between rigidly sticking to his oath as a man of the Night’s Watch and totally violating it by siding with a king. Tyrion…well I don’t know what to think of him anymore. It’s okay that characters change and explore themselves. That’s what makes a story good! But it’s not okay that they randomly go in a whole different direction with pretty much zero explanation.
Despite all this, when I actually sat down to read A Dance with Dragons I didn’t mind it all that much. Some parts were pretty darn good. Although George R. R. Martin lost some of the things that made his series great in the beginning (his ability to kill off main characters ruthlessly, for one) he still has that amazing world-building. We learn so much about Westeros and the rest of Martin’s world that it almost makes up for everything else. The history of all Seven Kingdoms and the impact on people and other places was fascinating. I loved learning more about the world’s history! It added more depth to Martin’s world.
Yes, I will read The Winds of Winter when it finally does get published. Will I be looking forward to it as much as I did this book? Probably not. I’m just hoping that the next book will be better and that we’ll go back to that magical spark George R. R. Martin had in A Game of Thrones.
I give this book 3/5 stars.
(Cover picture courtesy of Barnes and Noble.)
Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons left in the world. And as opposing forces maneuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords….
A Song of Ice and Fire series just gets better and better as I go along. Not only was the plot full of unexpected twists this time around, but the characters took some pretty surprising turns. Characters who were once insignificant now play much more interesting roles and betrayals are around every corner. Plenty of the betrayals blindsided me and some of the changes in characters’ personalities made sense, but were definitely unexpected.
Part of the reason why I liked A Storm of Swords so much is that George R. R. Martin did so much more world development. We got to see things from the perspective of wildlings, but also other peoples across the Narrow Sea as well as in the Free Cities. Not only that, but we got to learn more about the history of Westeros and the surrounding countries in a more natural way rather than having all of the backstory dumped on us. Martin’s world isn’t the typical fantasy world I thought it was in the first book, in part because Martin actually understands politics. It’s not a simple good versus evil fight and the characters are completely good or completely evil; there’s ambiguity all throughout the novel.
And of course, where would this series be without its awesome characters? Daenerys Targaryen, Sansa Stark, Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow all get pretty good page time like in A Clash of Kings, but characters like Jaime Lannister and Samwell Tarly also get their say. I admit that I like some characters a lot more than others and sometimes the points of view of my least favourite characters were annoying, but that’s just personal preference. Pretty much all of the points of view Martin uses are necessary to move the story along.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but when of my favourite things about George R. R. Martin is that he’s not afraid to kill off important characters. Some authors hesitate about killing off their personal favourites or even fan favourites, but not him! He actually makes his characters suffer to the point where you wonder if it’s too much. Still, it makes for an excellent novel filled with all kinds of drama set against a brilliant fantasy world. It’s a thousand pages of pure awesome, to put it bluntly. Seriously, if you haven’t read this series yet, you should start.
I give this book 5/5 stars.